Joel907, might be a hard pill to swallow, but how about not running your dog in HT for a while? He's only 15 months, about the only thing you're going to accomplish is making the problem worse. Being able to do the work isn't the only criteria. Being mature and stable enough not to lose their heads is also a good idea. You're setting yourself up for a lifelong problem with your pup if you're already looking for bandaid solutions to manners. Stop running and train your dog, run fewer tests, build that standard in him. I know it's fun to brag about how young your dog got titles and passes, I totally get wanting to run your dog, it's fun, but it really isn't worth it if it sets your dog back in the big picture. Unless SH is your end goal. Also would recommend Dennis Voigt's TRA dvd, he's got some nice ideas for pre-test routines. Train your dog vs just airing/running to get the energy off. Get to the test area early, find a field and train.
Whatever else you do, you need to get his attitude and head in the right place, from the instant you are getting him out of your truck, he should be in your world before you ever get to that holding blind. He's not the one calling the shots, you are, and if he's wild getting out of the truck, getting to the blind, leaving the blind, walking to the line, at the line, then address that. It is impossible to replicate test atmosphere in training, but, unless your dog is wired wrong, you can go a long way in addressing many of these issues in everyday training, especially if you can find someone really good to watch and help you and make suggestions as to how you can modify what you are doing now. Read the dog, it isn't about blunt force necessarily, whipping or burning some manners into a dog, as much as it is getting the dog in the right mental state, to be in tune with you and listen to you, be in your world on your terms, not his, while maintaining a good, confident attitude to do the work in the field. I hate seeing a beaten, slinking dog as much as I dislike having a wild out of control one. It is simple, but it isn't easy, this whole balance thing, keeping the total picture in mind, but the results are worth the effort. When I think about how bad it was with my first HT dogs, how much I dreaded, hated, feared, holding blinds, getting to the line, it really clouded the enjoyment of running my dogs. But, think about it, take a look at the photos of the Nationals and National Amateurs for instance, those dogs are sitting, standing or laying in the holding blinds with their handlers, not zonkers (of course there are exceptions but, in general). To be at the top of your game, whatever the venue, has to start back at the truck first.
To answer your question, the holding blind behind your truck should be no problem as long as it doesn't interfere in some way (impeding traffic, etc.) but you cannot give your dog a correction on the grounds of the test.
Furthermore, I agree with what others have said about not running the dog while you are having this problem. If you have already paid to run the dog you might try this: Go to the test and when you get your dog out to run if he displays any of the undesired behavior that you are worried about tell him "no, heel", put the leash on him (if it is already off) and take him back to the truck and tell the marshal he won't be running. I've seen pros do this with dogs who were getting ready to run the HRC Grand in the next few weeks as it is a great way to send the dog the message that they cannot get away with whatever they want at a hunt test just because they don't have their e-collar on (they can still be denied the opportunity to retrieve and you are willing to do it).
Maturity will calm some dogs down. Some not so much. I always expect a major loss of obedience & compliance at a test. A 6 inch creep becomes 6 feet. Forging ahead slightly becomes bolting to the line. A cast refusal turns into quartering the field finding the duck on autopilot. The answer is to raise your standards significantly, train with a group & replicate the test environment as close as possible.
That isn't going to help with this test. I would run anyway but remember you are running for a $2 ribbon & your pride. Have in your mind what is acceptable & what is not. If needed rope your dog.
Ramping up obedience to 110% perfection in training can help as will group training. You could also try this CD for training:http://www.ybsmedia.com/index.php/gunz-up Best wishes!
I wish someone had told me this when I was in your situation. Not sure I would have listened??? I do know I will never repeat the mistake. We went four for four in Seniors... we have not and probably won't run in Masters because of this.
Originally Posted by Rainmaker
Listen to Mark and Kim. Mark has personally helped me a bunch with my wild beast. I have seen much better behavior out of him in the last 2-3 months (since his handler raised the standard and stopped nagging for compliance), but it remains to be seen how much of this will carry over to the testing environment. The only thing I know for sure is that not all of it will.
I quitrunning tests, I never really fixed iteven after I got MAJOR help. It got better but never perfect.
The Problem is ME,, NOT the dog. She learned all what you see because I taught her to do that stuff..
I cringe when I watch it now.. Ishouldhave never allowed a retrieve.. If you would have seen the approach from the holdingblind to the line,, It was awful also.. STANDARDS<< STANDARDS<< STANDARDS,, DESPITE what SOME Judges will allow ,,, to Pass a test...
Re Read Kims post! Very good advice.